Anal irritation advice

Don’t suffer with hemorrhoids or an itchy anus. Imagine no more itching, soreness or bleeding.

Read our advice below to discover how you can prevent hemorrhoids and anal itching.

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in and around the anus. Did you know that up to 75% of the USA will experience hemorrhoids and the symptoms associated with them? Apart from the embarrassment hemorrhoids (often called piles) can be painful, itchy and are the biggest cause of bleeding from the rectum. Hemorrhoids can be the result of straining during bowel movements especially if you are constipated. Developing hemorrhoids during pregnancy is very common and caused by the increased pressure on the veins inside of the rectum. Hemorrhoids can be very painful and itchy, especially at night time when we are trying to sleep. This is due to our body relaxing and warmth of the bed covers increasing our body temperature.

Many of us will at some time experience some form of anal irritation. Most of us will assume that we have hemorrhoids but there are many forms of anal irritation, for example Pruritus ani, anal fissures and anal skin tags and of course hemorrhoids. Let’s take a quick look at each of these conditions.

  • Hemorrhoids (piles) - The most common form of anal irritation with 3 out 4 adults experience them at some point in their adult life. These are swollen veins in and outside of the rectum that can become sore, itchy and sometimes bleed.
  • Pruritus ani – This is the medical name giving to anal itching (an itchy butt to you and me). There are many causes of anal itching; the most common cause is our diet. Eating a lot of spicy food, preserved foods or drinking too much alcohol are all common factors of anal itching. Using soap to wash the anus is often a big contributor to an itchy butt due to the high pH value of soap. Some medication can also cause us to get an itchy anus as this can create a chemical in balance in our digestive system increasing the acid in our stools.
  • Anal fissure – These are small tears in the skin in and around the rectum. These can be very painful as well as itchy. They can bleed, become inflamed and get infected. Many people develop anal fissures when they become constipated resulting in trying to pass a large stool that can split the delicate skin around the anus.
  • Anal skin tags – Skin tags are growths of excess skin that can hang from the anus. Quite often they are mistaken for warts or even hemorrhoids. They can become sore and swollen due to the rubbing effect when we sit and walk. They can also become very itchy and sometimes bleed. Please consult your Doctor or health adviser to diagnose the above symptoms correctly.

To prevent hemorrhoids, anal itching and anal fissures read the following advice. 

  1. Eat a healthy diet – As constipation is the biggest cause of developing hemorrhoids we advise that you eat a high fiber diet, fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and whole grain foods. It is advisable to cut down on spicy foods and hot sauces that can cause an itchy anus.
  2. Drink plenty of water – Cutting down on alcohol and fizzy drinks that contain high amounts of sugar can prevent constipation. Drinking six to eight glasses of water each day helps to keep our digestive system running smoothly and can prevent us developing hemorrhoids.
  3. Don’t strain on the toilet - Straining puts pressure on the veins in the rectum and is one of the reasons we can develop hemorrhoids. Try raising your feet slightly by using a child’s toilet step. This creates a more natural position when we are moving our bowels and decreases straining. Other situations can be straining too much when lifting heavy objects or weight lifting in the gym.
  4. Visit the toilet as soon as you feel the urge – Holding back from visiting the toilet will only put increased pressure on the rectum. When your bowels tell you to go to the ‘can’ then you need to obey your body. This will decrease the chances of developing hemorrhoids.
  5. Exercise more and avoid long periods of sitting - Exercise helps keep the colon more regular. But this does not apply to exercise that increases abdominal pressure such as weightlifting which can contribute to the formation of hemorrhoids, especially if you have a history of hemorrhoids problems. However regular exercise like walking, jogging, yoga or swimming can help with hemorrhoids. Exercise and staying active reduces your time spent sitting and putting pressure on the veins in your lower rectum.
  6. Keep the anus clean and dry – After you and passed a stool or just before going to bed it is advisable to clean the anal area with warm water. Avoid using soaps that can cause irritation due to the high alkaline contents. Making use of a bidet is ideal or simply sitting over the edge of a bath also makes washing easier. Avoid vigorous rubbing when drying the area, try to pat the area dry with toilet tissue.
  7. There are a number of medical conditions which can cause an itchy anus, for example: worms, thrush or STD’s. Thankfully these are relatively rare, but if your discomfort persists, it may be advisable to consult your doctor.